Friday, September 2, 2011

"Books and Babies: Communicating Reproduction," Exhibition, Cambridge University Library, Through December 23, 2011

Picture books teach children the facts of life. We are always reading about reproduction. Reproduction also describes what communication media do—multiply images, sounds and text for wider consumption. This exhibition is about these two senses of reproduction, about babies and books, and the ways in which they have interacted in the past and continue to interact today. Before reproduction there was generation, a broader view of how all things come into being than passing on the blueprint of a particular form of life. Before electronic media there were clay figurines, papyrus, parchment, printed books and journals. The interactions between communication media and ideas about reproduction have transformed the most intimate aspects of our lives.
This from the new exhibition "Books and Babies: Communicating Reproduction," which will be on view at Cambridge University Library through December 23, 2011. For those of you who are unable tovisit in person (like myself!), you can console yourself with the excellent web exhibition--from which the above images are drawn--by clicking here. You can find out more about visiting the exhibition here.

Thanks to Nick Hopwood and Eric Huang for sending this to my attention!

  1. Aristotle’s Works: containing the Master-Piece, Directions for Midwives, and Counsel and Advice to Child-Bearing Women. With various useful remedies (c.1850). Private collection, frontispiece and title page
  2. From Omnium humani corporis… (1641), an anatomical booklet made up of woodcut illustrations copied from earlier books under the supervision of Walther Ryff, a prolific producer of texts intended for a broad range of readers.
  3. Plate from Cesare Lombroso's textbook L’Uomo Delinquente ... (1889)

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